ARLINGTON MILLION DAY ALL STAKES PICK 4 ANALYSIS

Since so many European horses are entered for these races, I’ve included the best Racing Post Rating (RPR) for each runner in 2014 as a way to level the playing field, and also included the top Beyer at the relevant distance (specified when necessary). As always, horses are organized by post position and running style (P=Pace, S=Stalker, C=Closer).

The Turf at Arlington was yielding on Thursday. With a high 70s and sunny forecast for Friday and a chance of showers Saturday, we expect the course to be somewhere between good and firm depending on the time of the rain Saturday, and that could make a considerable difference, and is worth monitoring throughout the day.

Race 7- AMERICAN ST LEGER, 13.5f (3:45)

1- Moro Tap 20/1 (S)

He hung on for 4th after a tough trip in his last, the 12f Stars and Stripes over this course, but didn’t show the turn of foot to compete with some of the better runners here. He’s now missed the board in 5 of his 6 starts this year and is difficult to support in a field this contested, especially when he would have to reverse finishes significantly with some of these foes to factor.

RPR: 102 Beyer: 91

2- Dandino 3/1 (S)

Defending champ has returned from an eight month layoff in seemingly rough form, finishing 6th beaten double digit lengths in his two 2014 starts, both at 12f in Group 2 company. Perhaps the wet track at Newmarket last out played against his style, and maybe he was short off the layoff before that at Ascot. He certainly should have gained some needed fitness from both efforts, and now would be the time in his third off the lay, but form questions abound, and while probably still the horse to beat based on back class, 7 year old does not appear to be the lock he was a year ago, especially if the turf has some give. We will use him defensively in multi-race wagers and exotics, but look for more value in outright betting.

RPR: 104 Beyer: 94

3- Big Kick 6/1 (P)

Former claimer recently won his first Stakes when he impressively wired the Grade II San Juan Capistrano at 14f. After running exclusively in claiming and allowance races before that, he picks a tough spot for his second career stakes try after 7 weeks of rest, but has the natural speed to effect the race shape at the very least, and appears to be the one they’ll have to run down as there aren’t any other true “need-the-lead” types here. Lone speed isn’t quite as playable an angle in marathon races, but foes would be wise to not let son of Tiznow create too much space as he’s already won beyond this distance.

RPR: 104 Beyer: 98

4- Infinite Magic 25/1 (S)

Well off the board in his last four starts since a surprising win in last year’s Grade III American Derby over this course. Since then, he’s looked like a slow, one-paced grinder, and while that style isn’t the end of the world for a marathon race like this, he picks an odd time to stretch out beyond 10f for the first time against more seasoned Euros, not to mention more experienced American distance runners. Pass.

RPR: 96 Beyer: 82

5- Moment In Time 20/1 (S/C)

Irish mare seeking her first win in 13 starts dating to last June lands in a tough spot against the boys, but does show placings in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at 12f and the Grade I E.P. Taylor Stakes at 10f from 2013. In perhaps her most impressive recent performance, she missed the show in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at 2 miles in March by just a nose over turf labeled good, and has twice contested the 14f distance this year, including a close 4th place finish in a listed stakes over good to firm ground following a rough trip. She ran 2nd over soft turf at 12f in her last against similar company, which was her first placing in eight starts this year, so she should be fit for this, and while she showed better form last year her two most recent races have shown a positive trajectory. Will have to manage a ship and a class leap on just two weeks rest, but represents fantastic value at anywhere near this morning line.

RPR: 105

6- Hardest Core (presumed scratch into Arlington Million)

7- Havana Beat 15/1 (S)

Lightly raced Euro shipper earned his first stakes win in his last race, a listed stakes at over 2 miles, tracking the leader and getting up in the final strides over the good to firm course. He had been unplaced in Group 1 company prior at a similar distance and in unplaced in Group 2 company at 12f as well but offers a challenge for the rest of the field off his last in terms of speed figures. He does have a Group 3 placing from last July at 10.5f, also over firm turf. Grandson of Galileo figures to press just off the early pace and has the bottom under him to stick around for a piece, but looms a mystery here off six weeks rest, and may find this distance a bit on the short side, as strange as that sounds.

RPR: 106

8- Admiral Kitten 15/1 (C)

Winner of last year’s 10f Secretariat lands in an odd spot here distance-wise as connections wanted to avoid racing against stablemate Real Solution in the Million. Still, he closed impressively to miss the win in a photo last out in the local prep for the Million, and his deep-closing style of racing suggests he could benefit from additional ground. He’s only tried beyond 10f once in his career, and that was a lackluster effort when 7th back in March in the 12f Pan American Stakes. Adds intrigue and confusion to a race that already has plenty of both, but is probably a play against as the question marks pile up.

RPR: 112 (9f), 107 (10f)  Beyer: 92 (10f)

9- Eye of the Storm 6-1 (P/S)

Born with one eye, 4 year old son of Galileo has contested beyond this distance in four of his last six starts, including a 2 mile listed stakes win over good turf last year. He struggled mightily in Group 2 company three back over turf listed good to firm, finishing 9th of 10 (with today’s foe Dandino 6th, some 17 lengths ahead) after tracking the leaders and weakening, so he may prefer it a bit softer. He did regroup to win his most recent start, a Group 3 event at 12f where he sat just off the pace as the favorite over yielding turf, and wasn’t disgraced when missing the board by a head at 14f in a listed stakes one race prior, posting a competitive speed figure. He wheels back quickly after racing just nine days ago; will that combined with the ship and new surface be too much to overcome? Aidan O’Brien doesn’t come across the pond that quickly for no reason, and his running style should give him every chance to stick around for a piece, especially if the turf comes up softer than expected, but it’s hard to imagine him turning the tables on Dandino on firmer turf based on the result of their last race.

RPR: 107

10- The Pizza Man 9/2 (P/S):

Winner of four straight dating back to last September, he ruined a $400 Pick 4 for me on Preview Day when I stubbornly tried to beat him as he stretched back out to 12f in his second off a long layoff, and he made me pay when he wired the field. He got away with super easy fractions in that race even by 12f standards, and lost 2 lengths in the stretch to hold off the closers by a diminishing half length. Will the additional 1.5 furlongs here and the class leap be his undoing as he encounters grittier front-running types here in his first try at the distance? There’s certainly a case to be made, and his popularity at the track will make him a likely underlay.

RPR: 107 (8.5f), 103 (12f) Beyer: 93 (8.5f) 98 (12f)

11- Suntracer 4/1 (C)

Hard-trier hasn’t won a race in 12 starts but is seemingly always in the mix. He made up 5 lengths in the stretch of his last at 12f over this course to just miss The Pizza Man by 3/4 of a length, and was coming late in this race a year ago to surprise for the place spot, missing there by just a half a length. We have to think that he’d have blown by the winner in his last with any additional ground, and he gets 1.5f more here; whether he’s up to the task against the Euro shippers is another question entirely, but he has been working sharply, is on the muscle, and could be sitting on a big effort if he can stay a bit closer to the leaders this time. Leading jockey Javier Castellano picks up the mount. We’ll give him a shot to turn the tables this year and get the win, but are less enthusiastic if the turf comes up wet.

RPR: 104 Beyer: 97

Picks:

1) Suntracer 4-1

2) Dandino 3-1

3) Moment In Time 20-1

4) Eye of the Storm 6-1

 

Race 8- SECRETARIAT, 10f (4:15)

1- Global View 5/1 (C)

With the exception of his last race, a 7th place finish over 10f where he suffered a tough six wide trip and reportedly didn’t care for the wet turf surface, he’s shown a very good turf record over his short career. He closed hard through the stretch to win the 9f American Turf on Derby Day in Grade II company over firm ground. His connections have been adamantly seeking a dry course for his next start, as his race in between, a well beaten 2nd at 8f, also came over turf labeled good. By Galileo out of a Storm Cat mare, his pedigree is loaded with stamina and he seems to be begging for a fair shot at some added ground. He finished two lengths ahead of Divine Oath when 2nd in the Penn Mile, and was nearly four lengths better than General Jack (who admittedly had a rough trip that day) in his American Turf win, and both of those horses came back to win impressively in their next start, so he certainly fits here in terms of class. He’ll need to sit a little closer to the lead this time, but if the favorite doesn’t handle the firm footing, he looks like one that could surprise at a decent price; he does show the second highest RPR in the field and he hasn’t even run his race yet.

RPR: 106 Beyer: 89

2- Highball 15/1 (C)

Lightly raced son of Lemon Drop Kid made up two lengths in the stretch to get up for 3rd after a rough trip in his last, the Grade III American Derby at 9.5f over this course in only his third career start. He had broken his maiden in similar fashion one race prior at 9f and should benefit from the added ground if he can handle a significant jump in class. A contender for the bottom rung of exotics.

RPR: 95 Beyer: 85

3- Belisarius 20/1 (S)

Broke maiden in 5th try when switching to a synthetic surface at 10f in Ireland, now cuts back to that distance after a 2nd place finish against listed stakes foes at 12f in his last, and adds blinkers. The equipment change has led some to believe that the O’Brien barn plans to use him a rabbit for Adelaide by softening up Tourist on the front end, who otherwise looks like lone speed. Outside of the maiden win, he’s contested all five of his other races on surfaces less than firm, and appears a bit of an outsider here, but could have significant impact if he does indeed change racing tactics.

RPR: 100

4- General Jack 12/1 (S)

Improving son of Giant’s Causeway comes off back to back 8f wins from just off the pace, the latter in listed stakes company. He’s untested beyond 8.5f but has been training well since his last. He encountered a tough trip when 5th behind today’s foe Global View in the 8.5f American Turf and stands to improve on the 3.75 lengths that separated those two with a better trip and based on current form cycle, but strength at this distance is still a question.

RPR: 101 Beyer: 92

5- Sheldon 15/1 (C)

Broke his maiden in sixth try two back at 10f over good turf, but had a tough trip after than when 5th in the Belmont Derby over similar surface conditions. He has shown an explosive turn of foot in the late stages of races but takes a class jump, and he may prefer a softer course than he will see here. It’s also possible that he requires a bit more ground than 10f, and while he’s certainly one to watch at marathon distances next year and will be coming late here, he may not get quite enough pace to get up in time for the win, but is certainly live for deep exotic wagers.

RPR: 103 Beyer: 87

6- Adelaide 8/5 (S)

Irish import from the Aidan O’Brien barn made his first American start last out when beaten by a neck in the 10f Belmont Derby, a Grade I contest run over good turf. He held the lead in the stretch and was overtaken at the wire, but still has yet to finish worse than 2nd in five career starts. He’s run just once over firmer ground and it was the only time he was easily beaten for the win. That came at 12f in the Group 2 King Edward VII at Ascot. He seems tactical enough to stay near the pace if it is as slow as anticipated; the main question is how son of Galileo will handle a firm turf course if it comes up that way, but he nevertheless holds a huge advantage over the field in terms of BRIS numbers (17 points in Prime Power; anything more than 10 is highly statistically significant). Dangerous, a must use on the top line of all wagers and probably the most likely winner on the card.

RPR: 112 Beyer: 95

7- Divine Oath 8/1 (S/C)

Snuck along the rail to overtake the pacesetter late when winning the 9.5f American Derby, the local prep for this race, and certainly appeared to appreciate the stretch out beyond the 8-8.5f races he had previously contested. When 4th in the 8f Penn Mile over good turf, he made up 2.5 lengths in the stretch, so the distance shouldn’t be a problem for him despite what appears to be a bit of a speed-oriented pedigree, but he takes another step up in class and will need to improve figure-wise, as he was easily bested by another of today’s foes that will also benefit from the distance in Global View. He may take a bit more action than his morning line suggests based on his win here last month and is a play against for us.

RPR: 98 Beyer: 87

8- Can’thelpbelieving 12-1 (S/C)- Scratched

9- Tourist 5/2 (P)

Impressive wire to wire winner of his last two, he drew away and was geared down through the stretch last time out in the 8f Sir Cat Stakes, posting a field high 103 Beyer. As an interesting class comparison, he crushed the highly regarded Storming Inti in that race by more than 5 lengths, while today’s foe Global View was all out to beat that one by a neck in the 8.5f American Turf Stakes three back. On the flip side, he’s yet to contest a Graded Stakes and he’s never raced beyond 9f or won beyond 8.5f, but his pedigree (by Tiznow out of an Unbridled’s Song mare) and current form suggests the added distance shouldn’t be a problem. He did take five tries to break his maiden, but the first four were on dirt; he’s won three straight since switching to the turf. Without a lot of speed signed on here, he may be the one to catch and may be able to have it his own way on the lead as he steps up in class, and is a must use based on that angle.

RPR: 106 Beyer: 103

Picks:

1) Adelaide 8/5

2) Global View 5/1

3) Tourist 5/2

4) Sheldon 15/1

 

Race 9- BEVERLY D, 9.5f (4:54)

1- Just The Judge 6/1 (S):

Shows classy Euro form, coming off consecutive 3rd place finishes against Group 1 (10f) and Group 3 (8.5f) company respectively, and won a Group 1 at 8f last May as a 3 yo. It would appear that her best efforts have come at shorter distances and over softer turf, and her trainer even admitted this week that a proper “good” turf would be ideal, so that will be something to keep an eye on as the weather unfolds. Still, her stalking style could set up well for her here given the strong anticipated pace to run at, and she figures to get a ground saving trip on the rail. She’ll have to negotiate a seven week layoff and the ship, but Euros have won the last three runnings of this race and we like her best of the shippers.

RPR: 111

2- Euro Charline 8/1 (P):

Lightly raced 3 year old has never run beyond 8f but impressed last time out with a front running score at that distance over turf labeled good at Ascot. It bears mention that she bested last year’s runner-up in this race, Gifted Girl, by a solid 4 lengths there, so she certainly has the class to make an impression here if she can handle the added distance and the likely firmer going. She wasn’t disgraced when 3rd in Group 1 company two back over good to firm turf, as the chart shows she was squeezed through on the rail coming home, and she still managed to miss the winner by less than a length. The race before that, where she weakened over 8f to finish 5th against similar company and conditions, may be more of a reason for concern. A 3 year old has never won this race.

RPR: 111

3- Street of Gold 30/1 (C)

Winless in seven starts this year, but got up late to claim the show in the 9.5f Modesty, the local prep, missing the win by just a neck. She should get some pace to close into again here, although there are other foes who may be a bit more powerful in that respect. A player for the bottom of the superfecta at best but would need a massive pace meltdown to get there.

RPR: 97 Beyer: 85

4- Emollient 5/1 (P)

Gritty front-running type set the pace in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf before giving way in the stretch to finish a respectable 4th, missing the win by just a length and the show by just a nose. Unfortunately, this type of effort seems to be the norm for her recently, as in her first three starts this year, she again set the pace and faded late, missing the win only by a combined 3 lengths over those races, but running at shorter distances (8.5-9f). Her last effort in the 9f Diana was a disaster and can be ignored, as she was bumped early and taken completely off her game. She does show one career win at 10f from last July in the Grade I American Oaks, but with so much pace in here and drawn inside of it all, it’s difficult to support her holding on for the win at this distance based on her recent form, although her speed figures certainly fit as a win candidate.

RPR: 111-113 Beyer: 97-103

5- Stephanie’s Kitten 7/2 (C):

Rounding back into her stellar 2013 form following a long layoff, 5 year old mare put in her best showing since her return when closing quickly into a slow pace (:49.4) to finish 2nd last out in the 9f Diana, missing the win by a neck. We’ll forgive her 8th place finish three back following 9 months of vacation, and in reality she didn’t run as poorly as that placing indicates, as she missed the win by just over 3 lengths in the bunched up field. In between, she made up 3.5 lengths in the stretch of an 8f race, and while she’s never raced beyond 9f, she seems to have been asking for more distance over her entire career, and should get a nice pace setup to run into. While she’s finished behind Somali Lemonade in her last two, we think she turns the tables this time. With the best late pace number in a race where it figures to be hot up front, she earns our endorsement as the pick here, though we are disappointed she was made the morning line favorite as we hoped for much better value in a field this contested.

RPR: 109-114 Beyer: 95-101

6- Tannery 10/1 (C)

An inconsistent type, who at her best shows wins in 2013 over softer turf from Grade I and II events at 10-10.5f. She was rank and finished last in her most recent start, the 9f Diana, but put in a solid showing before that in the 10f New York, a Grade II event, while closing for 2nd over firm ground. She could certainly be one to pick up the pieces late if she sits off the pace better than last time, but the feeling is she may be better with longer and softer ground; all six of her career wins beyond a mile have come over turf rated soft or yielding, and it would be an extreme stretch to expect that here.

RPR: 110 Beyer: 95

7- La Tia 15/1 (P):

The “Queen” of Arlington is 6/11 lifetime at the park and ran well when setting the pace and tiring to 5th last year in this event in her first try against Grade 1 company, missing the show spot by a nostril. Recent form has been solid as she’s won two of her last three over the polytrack, setting career high speed figures. She’ll switch back to turf for the first time this year and will see how far she can take them this time around, and it’s worth noting that she boasts the highest BRIS early pace number and third highest late pace number in the field from her last race; live shot to spice up the superfecta this time, but a likely underlay on her home course.

RPR: 104 Beyer: 96

8- I’m Already Sexy 20/1 (P):

Horse for the course is now 4/4 lifetime at Arlington following a hard fought win in the Modesty in her first attempt at 9.5f. She steps up in class here, will have company near the pace and would need to make a considerable leap in terms of speed figures, but she certainly does seem to like it here. Still, it’s hard not to notice how she was grasping for the wire after sitting off pretty slow fractions (:50.1) last time; those figure to be at least 2 full seconds quicker here with La Tia and others fresh and eager.

RPR: 106 Beyer: 86

9- Alterite 4/1 (C):

Classy French bred filly probably needed her last, when she was up the track as the favorite coming off a 9 month layoff. She had no excuses aside from the long rest when tracking such a slow pace and fading at 9f, but this tactical style seemed to indicate an overbearing eagerness that combined with a lack of fitness, and she still only missed hitting the board by a couple of lengths. Remember, this is the same filly who finished 3rd in the BC Filly and Mare Turf last fall, closing ground late to miss the win by just a length to last year’s winner here, the statuesque Dank. She holds the field high Beyer, BRIS Prime Power and Back Speed number off that effort. With some added time to regain fitness now and a solid pace to attack, we expect her to be very tough in here if she returns to her off the pace tactics.

RPR: 103- 113 Beyer: 92-103

10- Sparkling Beam 20/1 (S)

Runner-up in a 10f listed stakes over very soft ground in her last, she shows back class that includes a field high Racing Post rating she earned winning a Group 3 race at 9f last June (114). She is accustomed to running over much softer turf than she’ll see here today and ran 9th in Group 3 company the last time she encountered a firm course. However, she does have a 2nd place finish in Group 2 company last August over firm turf at 10f. Difficult to gauge.

RPR: 109-114

11- Somali Lemonade 6/1 (P):

Has turned her career around with the addition of blinkers, as this former closer has found a niche winning races on the lead this year. She wired the 8.5f Gallorette, a Grade III event, and nearly held on in the Grade I Just A Game after setting impressive fractions. She showed her versatility in her last when notching her first Grade I win in the 8.5f Diana, sitting just off a slow pace and rallying through the stretch. The question will be how she handles the extra distance with other speed types signed on here from a wide post, as her only career start beyond 9f was a 6th place finish in the 10f Flower Bowl last September.

RPR: 106-107 Beyer: 96

Picks:

1) Stephanie’s Kitten 7/2

2) Alterite 4/1

3) Just The Judge 6/1

4) Euro Charline 8/1

 

Race 10- ARLINGTON MILLION (5:36)

1- Hardest Core 20/1 (P/S)

Winner of three straight dating back to last October, 4 year old gelding enters off a front-running win over a firm DEL turf course when stretching out to 12f for the first time in listed stakes company. Before that, he was seen besting allowance competitors in 9f events. Steps up in class big time as he cuts back to 10f in his first Graded Stakes try.

RPR: 101 Beyer: 96

2- Smoking Sun 9/2 (S):

Globetrotting son of Smart Strike races in his third country this year, showing a runner-up finish in the Group 1 Singapore International at 10f over fast turf in his last, and a win at 10f over firm turf three back in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt in Paris. In between, a 4th place finish in the Group 1 Prix Ganay can probably be attributed to the soft turf that day, and the Arlington surface could play to his liking at what appears to be his ideal distance as he makes his first US start. His stalking style should keep him close enough to the pace to make an impactful move in the stretch. He runs off a 90 day layoff so fitness may be a question, but his physique at the track this week has been most impressive, and he has been pointing to this race all year. In terms of back class, it bears mention that he defeated today’s foe Side Glance by 5 easy lengths when 2nd in Singapore, and that one hung on for 3rd here last year, defeated by only 2 lengths.

116 RPR

3- Magician 7/5 (C):

Defending Breeders’ Cup Turf champion returns to America following an impressive European campaign, winning a Group 3 at 10f over good to firm ground in May and finishing second to the highly regarded The Fugue at 10f over similar conditions in June at Ascot. He’ll look to bounce back from a 14 length defeat in his last, the 12f King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a Group 1 event that was contested over good to soft turf that may have played against his liking. BC win may be his claim to fame, but his three best races this year have come at 10f. Main vulnerability could be falling too far back in a field that is shorter than he is accustomed to at this distance without hardly any pace to close into, and he does run back off just three weeks of rest coming off the ship following perhaps his worst career effort. Must be respected and used on all multi-race tickets off his back class, but doesn’t look as invincible in here as morning line odds suggest.

RPR: 125 Beyer: 107

4- Finnegan’s Wake 12/1 (S/C)

Son of Million Champion Powerscourt finally got into the winner’s circle when employing a change in tactics in his last, the 9.5f Arlington Hcp in the local prep for this race. He was a deep closing 4th in last year’s edition of this race, but ran just off a slow pace in his last to overtake the pacesetter, demonstrating his versatility. He always fights hard and makes his presence felt late in races, is in career form but treads deeper water here.

RPR: 109 Beyer: 92

5- Up With The Birds 6/1 (C)

Canadian Horse of the Year stretches beyond 9f for the first time since last August, when he won a 500k Stakes over 12f at Woodbine. He closed from off the pace to win the Grade 2 Nijinsky at 9f in his last, and shows a 9f win from last fall at BEL over Admiral Kitten and Jack Milton from off the pace. Seems that the extra ground should only help him, but the class leap is another matter entirely, as his speed figures are a cut below the best here. Difficult to support based on the likely pace scenario.

RPR: 114 Beyer: 98

6- Real Solution 5/2 (S)

Defending champ of this event via disqualification, he went winless in his subsequent four starts, but had excuses in each. Two of those races were contested at 12f, which is beyond his ideal distance, while he got stuck on soft courses and behind slow fractions in the other two. Last time out, he finally got firm turf, reasonable fractions to run into and his desired 10f of ground, and the results were predictable as he won emphatically posting a career high speed figure. Sure, he was handily beaten by Magician in the Breeders’ Cup Turf by 5 lengths, but he actually had a narrow advantage on that one at the 10f point of the race. Very dangerous at this distance and on this course off his last, and would be the first repeat winner of the Million since the immortal John Henry. Connections certainly have incentive to hit the wire first and leave no questions this time around, but they’ll have to beat a tougher Euro contingent to do it.

RPR: 116 Beyer: 102

7- Side Glance 8/1 (P/S)

He completed a profitable trifecta in last year’s Million when hanging on for 3rd, running evenly throughout and never falling more than three lengths off the leader. 7 year old has seen his speed figures trail off a bit this year but wasn’t disgraced in his last when running 3rd in the 11f United Nations in Grade I company, setting the pace and fading to miss the win by just over a length. That was his first placing of 2014, but he’s kept classy company, as all seven international races he’s contested since last year’s race have been Group 1, including a 10f win last November. With a small field and some closing types, he may find himself with an easy lead by default as he cuts back a furlong from his most recent effort.

RPR: 111 Beyer: 96

Picks:

1) Smoking Sun 9/2

2) Real Solution 5/2

3) Magician 7/5

4) Side Glance 8/1

Explore posts in the same categories: Sports

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s